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Judicial Department
Judicial power is the power and duty of courts of justice to
apply the laws to contests or disputes concerning legally
recognized rights or duties between the State and private
persons or individuals, or between private persons or
individuals, or between private persons individuals or
individual litigants, in cases properly brought before the
judicial tribunals.
Scope of judicial power.

(1) Adjudicatory power. – judicial powers includes the duty of courts of justice:
(a) to settle actual controversies involving rights which are legally
demandable and enforceable; and
(b) to determine whether there has been a grave abuse of discretion
amounting to lack or excess of jurisdiction (infra.) on the part of any
branch or instrumentality of the government.
(2) Power of judicial review . – It also includes the power:
(a) to pass upon the validity or constitutionality of the laws of the State
and the acts of the other departments of the government;
(b) to interpret them; and (c) to render binding judgements.
(3) Incidental powers. – It likewise includes the incidental powers necessary to
the effective discharge of the judicial functions such as the power to
punish persons adjudged in contempt.
Where can we find Judicial Power?
Section 1. The judicial power shall be
vested in one Supreme Court and in such
lower courts as may be established by law.
What is Judicial Power?

• Judicial power includes the duty of the

courts of justice to settle actual
controversies involving rights which are
legally demandable and enforceable, and to
determine whether or not there has been a
grave abuse of discretion amounting to
lack or excess of jurisdiction on the part
of any branch or instrumentality of the
Government. (Section 1 Par. 2)
What are the powers of the Supreme
Section 4 par. 2- Decide on the constitutionality
of all laws or treaties
Section 5 Par1- Exercise original jurisdiction
over cases affecting Ambassadors, other
public ministers and consuls; over petitions
for certiorari, prohibition, mandamus, quo
warranto and habeas corpus
What is writ of certiorari?

• “to be informed of, or to be made

certain in regard to”
• A writ of certiorari is an order a
higher court issues in order to
review the decision and
proceedings in a lower court and
determine whether there were any
What is mandamus?
• Mandamus “we command”
is a judicial remedy in the form of an order
from a superior court, to any government
subordinate court, corporation, or public
authority, to do (or forbear from doing) some
specific act which that body is obliged under law
to do (or refrain from doing), and which is the
nature of public of duty, and in certain cases
one of a statutory provision.
What is quo warranto?
• “By what authority”
• It is a special form of legal action used to
resolve a dispute over whether a specific
person has the legal right to hold the public
office that he or she occupies.
Par 2- Review, Revise, Modify or Affirm
on appeal or certiorari on the following:
• Constitutionality of a treaty, presidential
decree or law
• Cases involving legality of any tax
• Cases involving issues on Jurisdiction
• Cases involving reclusion perpetua or death (
Power of Automatic Review )
• Cases involving questions of law
Assignment of Judges in lower courts
Order a change of venue or place or trial to
avoid miscarriage of justice
Appoint all officials and employees of the
Section 11 Second Sentence- Power to
discipline judges.
What is the BROADEST power of the
Supreme Court?
• Section 5 (6) “Promulgate rules
concerning the protection and
enforcement of constitutional rights,
pleading, practice, and procedure in all
courts, the admission to the practice of
law, the integrated bar, and legal
assistance to the under-privileged.
Who can be members of the Court?

Section 7 provides the general qualification of

any person who wants to be a member of the
Supreme court or any lower court:
1. Natural Born Citizen
2. At least 40 years of age
3. Must have been for 15 years or more a judge
of a lower court OR engaged in the practice
of law
Who can be members of the Court?

Note however that Congress may

prescribe legal qualifications for
lower courts
Other qualification:

How long can a person stay as a judge?
• Section 11 provides that The Members of the
Supreme Court and judges of lower courts
shall hold office during good behavior
until they reach the age of seventy years
or become incapacitated to discharge the
duties of their office.
How are judges removed from office?

SC- Impeachment, Death, Resignation,

Lower Courts- Retirement, Resignation,
Death, Discipline by the SC
Structure of the Courts
• FIRST TIER-Metropolitan Trial Court,
Municipal Trial Court, Municipal Circuit Trial
Court, Municipal Trial Court in Cities
• SECOND TIER- Regional Trial Court
• THIRD TIER- Court of Appeals, Court of Tax
• COURT of LAST RESORT- Supreme Court
Judicial power vested in one Supreme Court and in lower courts.
(1) Classification of courts. –Under the provision, only the Supreme
Court is a constitutional court in the sense of being a creation of the
Constitution. All other courts, including the Sandiganbayan, are
statutory courts in the sense that they are creations of law. They are
referred to as lower courts in the Constitution, meaning courts
below that of Supreme Court.
(2) Creation and abolition of courts by Congress. – In the exercise of its
legislative power, Congress may abolish any or all lower courts and
replace them with other courts subject to the limitation that the
reorganization shall not undermine security of tenure. It cannot,
however, abolish the Supreme Court; neither can it create an
additional Supreme Court because the Constitution provides for only
“one Supreme Court.” Neither can it abolish the Sandiganbayan
because its existence is constitutionality recognized although
Congress, in the exercise of its legislative power, may determine its
functions and jurisdiction.
Organization of courts

(1) Regular courts. – The Philippine judicial system consists of

hierarchy of courts resembling a pyramid with the Supreme Court at
the apex. Under the Judiciary Reorganization Act of 1980 (as
amended), the other courts are:
(a) A Court of Appeals with 69 Justices headed by a Presiding Justice
which operates in 23 divisions each comprising three (3) members.
The Court sits en banc only to exercise administrative, ceremonial, or
other non-adjudicatory functions;
(b) A Regional Trial Court presided by 720 Regional Trial Judges in
each of the thirteen (13) regions of the country; and
Organization of courts

(c) A Metropolitan Trial Court in each Metropolitan area

established by law; a Municipal Trial Court in every area
established by law; a Municipal Trial Court in every city not
forming part of a metropolitan area and in each of the
municipalities not comprised within a metropolitan area and a
municipal circuit; and a Municipal Circuit Trial Court in each area
defined as a municipal circuit comprising one or more cities and/or
one or more municipalities grouped together according to law.
A court may consist of several branches.
(2) Special courts. Aside from the regular courts, there are under present
laws special courts:
(a) The Sandiganbayan which operates in five (5) divisions each
comprising three (3) members, was created by Presidential Decree No.
1606 pursuant to the mandate of the 1973 Constitution. It “shall continue
to function and exercise its jurisdiction” as provided in said decree or as
may be provided by a subsequent law.

(b) The Court of Tax Appeals (with five justices and a Presiding Justice)
was created under Republic Act NO. 1125, as amended by R.A. No 9282,
which has exclusive appellate jurisdiction to review on appeal, among
others, decisions of the Commissioner of Internal Revenue involving
internal revenue taxes and decisions of the Commissioner of Customs
involving customs duties.
Quasi-judicial agencies.
Administrative bodies under the executive branch performing quasi-
judicial functions like the National Labour Relations Commission, the
Employees Compensation Commission, the Securities and Exchange
Commission, the Insurance Commission, etc. and the independent
Constitutional Commissions do not form part of the integrated judicial

“Quasi” is a Latin term which means “in certain sense.” Quasi- judicial
functions are in reality judicial in nature except that they are performed
not by the regular courts but by administrative bodies or agencies under
the executive branch and are thus referred to as quasi-judicial bodies or
Composition of the Supreme Court
The new Constitution retained the membership of the Supreme
Court of fifteen (15) members including the Chief Justice under
the 1973 Charter to cope with the continuing increase in the
number of cases brought about by a growing population.

The constitution requires any vacancy to be filled within ninety

days (90) from the occurrence thereof. In the past vacancies in
the Supreme Court sometimes remain unfilled for a long time.
Even when the membership of the court was fixed at fifteen
(15) it was seldom constituted.
Qualifications for the members of the Supreme Court and any lower
collegiate court.
(1) Supreme Court. - The qualifications for a member of the Supreme Court
(a) He must be a natural-born citizen of the Philippines. Therefore,
naturalized citizen may not be appointed;
(b) He must be at least forty (40) years of age;
(c) He must have, for fifteen (15) years or more, been a judge of a lower court
or engaged in the practice of law in the Philippines; and
(d) He must be a person of proven competence, integrity, probity and
independence. This criterion has something to do with the qualities of mind
and spirit which a member of the judiciary must possess. It is intended as a
guide to the recommending body (Judicial and Bar Council) and the
appointing authority (President), and as a reminder to the appointee. Its
indispensability is easily seen when it is accepted that any system of justice is
only “as good or as bad as its judges.”
(2) Lower collegiate courts. The qualifications of members
of any lower collegiate court (composed of more than one
judge, i.e Sandiganbayan, Court of Appeals, and Court of
Tax Appeals shall be prescribed by Congress as provided in
Section 7 (2) as in the case of judges of lower courts, but
they must be natural-born citizens of the Philippines.)
Tenure of office of members of the judiciary.
Importance of security of tenure. They shall hold office
during good behaviour until they reach the age of
seventy (70) years or become incapacitated, physically
or mentally, to discharge the duties of their office.

Security of tenure dependent upon good behaviour has

long been considered as an indispensable guarantee to
keep judicial independence, the cornerstone of all
systems of effective administration of justice.